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Old 02-09-2019, 07:17 AM
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samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 651
Evolution of the Randall Model 17 Astro

After seeing a modified Astro selling on eBay, I thought it time to post a thread on the evolution of the Astro.
Much has been said and written about the Astro over the years, including the Chapter in Bob Gaddis book dedicated to it.
My intent in this thread is to put in order the evolution of the Astro, from beginning to today. Hopefully the gaps that I leave will be filled by others who participate in this thread.

** Some of the dating is based in part on the sheath that appears with the knife, but the transition from long thin hilt to shorter/ thicker is seen in many Astros in small riveted sheaths by the late 60's early 70's. We also see the round butt in a sheath without rivets post 1972. So the transition from round butt to more blunt/square happened between 1972-1980. Then the raised/pronounce leading edge of the top clip appears sometime between 1980-85, as it appears this way, the modern look by 1985, in the 27th printing of the Randall catalog.

Bo pictured in 1984 with the Space knife made for and carried in space by Maj Gordon Cooper in May 1963. Maj Cooper presented his knife back to Bo as a gift for Bo's contribution to the Mercury Space Program in December 1963.

Maj Gordon Cooper's Astro before being fitted with Micarta scales

The Astros made for the 7 Mercury Astronauts

NASA also ordered a number of Astros to be used by the astronauts in training for the Mercury Space Program, and for others associated with the program. These knives were made from Solingen steel and engraved

Randall Made
Orlando Florida

Where the Randall logo stamp would normally be on Randall knives. These knives were made along with the personal knives that went to the 7 astronauts.

The personal knives were made for the purpose of accompanying the astronauts on their flights, but we know that Gus Grissom took his training knife with him on his flight. When his capsule splashed down in 1961 it sunk. The capsule was recovered in 1999, and Grissoms Astro was found in the capsule.

In 1963 the Randall catalog Sixteenth printing was released featuring The new Astro, initially sold without scales, with scales being an option.

An early Astro as shown in the Sixteenth printing 1963 Catalog without scales.

Here is another early Astro without scales made with Solingen steel from Pete Hamilton's book.

Then in the Seventeenth printing 1965 Catalog the Astro was offered standard with scales

An early Astro fitted with Brown Micarta scales, as offered in the 17th printing of the Randall catalog in 1965

To be continued.......

Last edited by samg; 02-13-2019 at 05:55 AM.
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